Essential Project Determination Required for City of Seattle Inspections

While we have been assisting clients with seeking clarification from the State that certain projects involve essential construction activity or activity exempted from the Stay Home-Stay Safe Order “to prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs…”, local jurisdictions have begun imposing additional requirements.  Most notably, on March 27, the City of Seattle has restricted inspections to only essential projects and requires documentation showing that a Project meets the essential project criteria.  Information on the City’s requirements can be found at the following links: 

As noted in the following screenshot, applicants must submit an email citing the specific language in the Governor’s Order and/or clarifying memo applicable to the Project and a copy of the exemption request submitted to the State, along with an approval email from the State.  The City will then make a determination if the Project is essential and only then will schedule inspections.  Clearly, the steps that must be taken to continue construction activities are becoming more complicated. We shall continue to navigate this increasingly complex process and can provide assistance.


Editor’s Note:  One important consideration is who submits the request for the essential project determination.  From my perspective, this should be submitted by the owner of the project because the owner is in the best position to determine if its business includes essential activities exempted from the Order.  In addition, the general contractor can assist the owner in determining what work is necessary to prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions for the owner’s submission. 

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